Until all the Women in Africa Enjoy the Freedom They So Much Deserve, the Liberation Struggle for the African Continent Continues.
The role of African women in the struggle to liberate Africa was much bigger than anybody can imagine. Much has been written about the struggles of African men in the liberation but emphasis on the struggle of African women has not been documented as much. Just like everyday life in society, women have always played a major role in building a strong community. It is such roles and many more that saw women become a great asset in the struggle for Africa’s liberation throughout the 20th Century.
However, women in Africa today continue to struggle for the freedom they participated in bringing to this great continent. The worst part is that this struggle has now been converted to ideologies that only benefit the imperialists within and outside Africa. Philosophies like feminism have been used to turn the colonized women against their colonized male counterparts. This ends up fuelling political, social and economic turmoil across the continent and further slowdown the original goals of getting women to enjoy the fruits of true freedom that was fought for by their fore parents.
Despite the increasing percentage in the number of girls enrolling in schools around Africa, owning property such as land has not yet become a culturally acceptable occurrence in many parts of the continent. You will still find a lot of educated women being held captive in the chains of old cultural practices that dictate only the man should own all physical property and the woman; despite her level of education will always remain a caretaker of the same property.
The irony is most of these women end up suffering when their husbands pass on or even in the cases of separation and they are forced to fend for their children with very little or no capital at all. That is why organizations such as Agile International have come up with initiatives to empower African women with projects such as the current land investments in West Africa. When these women in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Ivory Coast and other west African nations are given the opportunity to take charge of their own destinies by owning land, they will be able to educate their young girls to not only stabilize their future but to also avoid the increasing issues of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Owning land will enable these women to practice sustainable farming practices with the training they get from professionals such as ColoradoStateUniversity’s Department of Agricultural Science hence increasing the food supply and ultimately increase their income.
The struggle to liberate African women has also been hindered by government policies which from time to time have clashed with the grievances of women across the continent. But when a nation puts in place policies that empower the woman, this struggle will be seen as less of a challenge. For example in Kenya, the constitution that was promulgated in 2010 encapsulated the compulsory election of women representatives from the 47 counties to sit in the National Assembly. This move, though viewed as controversial by some men was received well by not only Kenyans but the continent as a whole. Also having nations such as Malawi and Liberia being led by women, in this case Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda and Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf respectively; there is hope for more policies to be put in place with the aim of liberating African women on all fronts.
International policies from international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank have continued to foster women empowerment in Africa. This has mainly been channeled through funding of Non-Governmental Organizations that draw policies to empower the African girl child and the African woman as a whole. The challenge remains large with the recurring big number of teenage pregnancies leading to school dropout and other cultural practices such as early marriage and female genital mutilation.
The saddest thing about the liberation struggle for African women is the fact that not only did the continent’s leaders shy away from empowering women, but the whole world took such as long time to realize the importance of the woman in society. It took some parts of the world centuries to empower their women before enticing other continents like Africa to follow suite. The thing that makes it even more difficult for Africa to unite on this course is the diverse cultural practices found across the continent. These practices are slowly being phased out or merged with modern practices to ensure that the girl child goes to school and enjoys equal rights with the boy child.
But until all the women in Africa enjoy the freedom they so much deserve, the liberation struggle for the African continent continues.